Julie Horne: pricing strategies that focus on you not the competition
At the recent Inner Circle 2022 event in Switzerland, Miranda Pearce sat down to interview Julie Horne RN, co-founder of the Swiss Aesthetics Institute and founder of the Julie Horne Academy.
The night before, she asked herself one question – if you could interview Julie Horne about anything, what would you talk about? Well, there was only one answer…money.
In this blog, Miranda Pearce, Dr Tim’s wife, who is an expert on marketing for aesthetic clinicians explores money with Julie Horne, discussing price setting, patients who challenge high prices, and dealing with cheap competition.
Thanks to Julie’s generosity to share, it is a fascinating peek behind the curtain of the money mindset of the world’s undisputed lip queen. This might just be the most important advice for success you will hear this year.
Check out Miranda’s amazing online e-learning course on marketing which is specifically designed for aesthetic clinicians with the Dream Customer Attraction Method. Learn the proven, step-by-step marketing method that gets a steady stream of dream customers booking your aesthetic treatments.
Should you worry about the competition?
As a culture and society, we often do not want to talk about money. But you do not get to become Europe’s most expensive lip injector without first overcoming some hurdles and having a money mindset.
We often talk about how you are not just selling ‘the syringe’, which makes perfect sense, but many aesthetic clinicians still think more emotionally about competing with the practitioner down the road who is charging per syringe.
Miranda asked Julie if she was aware of her local competition in the early days of her practice. The short answer was no. Julie explained how she always went her own way, focusing on her own practice. She agreed that you must do your research – know what is going on around you with your competition, understanding practices in the same city or area. It is useful to have that information but knowing that did not affect her pricing decisions. Julie believes you should price your treatments based on your experience.
She believes that practitioners are making a mistake if they price themselves too low as it can look like you are cheap for a reason, such as you do not have enough experience compared to those around you, you are desperate for patients, or it a sign that your business is not performing as well as you wish. This is exactly why Julie has never offered discounts for her own services, and believes that clinicians should focus on themselves, become good at what they do, find their value, and then you can set your pricing.
Miranda concurred and noted that there is another hidden danger with setting your prices too low, in that you will burn out down the line. How can you stay motivated to service a fully booked diary of patients who are content with both the treatment and more importantly the low prices. Inevitably you will start to resent them for getting such a great deal out of you and cease to enjoy what you do.
For more on this, have a read of why you do NOT have to compete on price in aesthetics.
What if patients think you are expensive?
Miranda went on to ask Julie if she has ever had a patient who raised an eyebrow at her pricing, or commented that she is expensive?
Julie agreed that this did happen in the past, but less so nowadays. Before her international success, when she was still based in Scandinavia, she would receive comments from patients that her higher prices were expensive. She recalled some comparing them to practitioners near where they lived who charged half her prices. Julie explained that her response was to success that they book an appointment with that injector if they felt her prices were too high. She elaborated that her patients are paying for her experience, the results she can achieve and not just a syringe of filler, but many do not understand how much effort and hard work goes into perfecting your skills and becoming a great aesthetic practitioner. Thus, she said she often educates her patients and explains the reasons why her prices might be higher than those locally to them, including rents, business costs, the investment, both monetary and time, in her education and training to become as good as she is. She urges other aesthetic clinics to tell their patients just how much time they have invested in perfecting their skills and why they charge accordingly. Usually, Julie said, they realise it makes sense and jump right up onto the treatment couch! The caveat to this is ensuring that you do not feel that you must justify your pricing, even to your patients, but you can educate them as to the motivation for your charges.
Miranda followed up by suggesting that her pricing strategy, which is results driven, gives Julie the ‘wiggle room’ to be an artist as an aesthetic clinician. Essentially, whatever ‘paints’ you need to use on a patient today, you can use them, whereas, if your pricing strategy is based on scarcity and priced by syringe, you do not have the wiggle room to use more to achieve a better result for one patient, balanced by less on another, as comes with charging higher, results-driven pricing.
Creating a work-life balance as an aesthetic clinic owner
Miranda concluded the interview by discussing life design – how your business fits in with your life goals – choosing how much you work, or when you do not work, and how many holidays you want to take each year etc. She asked Julie what she thinks about when she is planning her financial and life design.
Julie explained that with honesty, this is only a recent consideration for her as she has been so driven to work to grow her business and brand. She spelt out that with a focus on business growth, you must make sacrifices in the beginning as you build your business from the foundations, whether that is working late evenings, sleepless nights, or losing sight of a genuine work-life balance. However, after seven years, she has reached a point where she has started thinking about finding the right balance between life and work, although her work is very much a part of her life; she said it is not a business, it is a pleasure. Taking holidays to recharge, going offline and relaxing is important if you are to have a long, successful, and sustainable career without burning out she concluded.
“Money is freedom”, rounded off Miranda. When we talk about money, it does not have to be shameful or dirty, it is about being able to make those choices. She encouraged all aesthetic clinicians to sit down and think about what they want to achieve financially but when, then take action to review their pricing strategy – increasing prices, not charging by syringe – you can then recalibrate, look forward, and above all do not be ashamed about your prices or making a profit.
You can follow Julie Horne RN on Instagram for more insight from one of the world’s foremost lip filler experts. You can also learn more marketing top tips from Miranda Pearce on Instagram.
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